Rally on Capitol Mall

Conservative Reformers Need To Make DC Listen

My Federalist column today explains that “reform conservatism” has been alive and well for years, and it is about time pundits start taking notice:

Ross Douthat’s recent New York Times column argues the most consequential recent development for the GOP has been “the fact that reform conservatism suddenly has national politicians in its corner.” Indeed, Douthat writes: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have presented reform ideas that “are already more interesting and promising than almost anything Republicans campaigned on in 2012.”

Welcome, Ross, to what many of us have been saying for the last several years. Republicans ran a campaign in 2012 premised on keeping their heads down and not “making ourselves the issue.” Senators Lee and Rubio have more in common, however, than just having recently introduced bold policy ideas. They also bucked this advice and ran insurgent campaigns against Establishment-backed candidates and won because they inspired people with bold ideas.

Today’s Republican Party is too often not the party of Lincoln and Reagan but instead of consultants, lobbyists and rent-seekers.

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Washington’s Weapon Against Conservatives

My Foundry column this week discusses one of the tricks the Washington Establishment uses against conservatives:

Over the past several decades, big-government lawmakers and lobbyists have developed a wide array of techniques they have used to successfully advance their own interests, usually to the detriment of our nation.  If conservatives are to be successful in changing Washington and saving the country, we must first understand the tools of their self-indulging trade.

One of the easiest tricks to spot is the “Christmas Tree.”

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Heritage Action for America

How to Use Twitter for Congressional Accountability

Twitter is a great tool to use for conservative activism. As an activist, you can build your reputation and promote conservative messages. But did you know that Twitter can be used for Congressional accountability, as well?

Our Government Relations team has reported that Members of Congress and their staffs are paying increasing attention to Twitter mentions, especially if they know the Tweets are from constituents.

Holding Members of Congress accountable on Twitter can take the shape of gratitude for conservative votes or challenges to liberal votes.

We’re excited to announce a new tool on the dashboard: Tweet at your Members of Congress.

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capitol spending

Expect Gimmicks with $1 Trillion Omnibus

Lawmakers are already looking for a procedural path that will ease passage of a $1.012 trillion spending bill early next month.  CQ Roll Call (sub. req’d) reports the “Closed-door negotiations on the fiscal 2014 omnibus over the next two weeks will be the best chance for lawmakers and lobbyists to secure funding or favored provisions since few if any amendments are expected when the legislation moves to the floor in January.”

After the massive omnibus is unveiled in early January, there will be little if any opportunity for lawmakers to amend the bill:

House leaders could find another bill that previously passed both chambers but has yet to be conferenced, strike the text and replace it with that of the omnibus. The House Rules Committee could pass such a measure under a closed rule, allowing for no amendments and quicker consideration in the chamber. That measure would then be sent to the Senate as a so-called “message,” and that designation would allow for only one procedural vote — and subsequently limit the opportunity for opponents to filibuster the measure — ahead of final passage. 

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Wall Street Journal Touts Heritage Action’s Influence

Heritage Action’s frequent, principled clashes with the Washington Establishment made headlines this week.  The Wall Street Journal (sub. req’d) framed it this way:

Behind much of the lobbying group’s heft are two tectonic shifts in American politics: conservative activists’ growing distrust of GOP leaders and the technological innovations that allow well-organized groups and individual politicians to connect directly with pockets of supporters and donors.

“Influence is being dispersed,” said Heritage Action Chief Executive Mike Needham. “The reason we’re controversial is that people don’t like change.”

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